Up until recently, the Honda Civic Type R was a vehicle I had only heard grand stories of but never had the opportunity to drive and any real desire to explore it owing to its outlandish boy racer styling. Last month the opportunity to pilot a Type R presented itself, and to say I was blown away is an understatement. As it turns out the Type R has since earned my respect as one of the best hot hatches I’ve ever driven - it's a combination of acceleration, cornering speed and agility! However, today I’m here to tell you about the latest Honda Civic Type R, launched in South Africa earlier this week.

It’s said to be the most powerful production Honda to ever be sold in South Africa. Interestingly, this is the sixth generation Civic Type R, and the first one was introduced back in 1997 in Japan. 26 years later and we have the latest iteration of the tar-scorching hatch. In its refreshed shape, it sits 27mm lower, and is 37mm longer and 13mm wider than the previous one, which I sampled. 19-inch alloys with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubbers are standard for maximum grip and traction allowing for no weak points in the Honda’s performance assault.

Inside, you’ll find the traditional red-themed cabin with red sports seats, carpets and trimmings. The outgoing Type R was also marked by this trademark. They’ve traded its previous instrument cluster for a fully digital 10.2-inch screen. A 9-inch infotainment screen is also on board with smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Honda has fitted a Bose Centerpoint premium sound system as standard in the new Type R.

2023 Honda Civic Type R engine specs

Honda’s award-winning K20C1 engine lives on and now resides beneath a vented aluminium bonnet in the latest Type R. With improvements to its turbocharger and a more efficient exhaust system, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine puts out 235kW and 420Nm all going to the front wheels. The output increase is marginal when comparing this with the outgoing Type R. It's a 7kW and 20Nm improvement. Thankfully, it’s still a purist hot-hatchback with three pedals and a six-speed manual gearbox. At higher revs, the active exhaust opens up for a more arousing soundtrack.

How much is the new Honda Type R?

With only 60 units allocated to South Africa, Honda has set the bar high with its pricing. The new Type R has a starting price of R979 000. At essentially a million Rand, it will be a steep price to pay for entry into this exclusive Type R club.

Included are a 5-year 90 000km service plan, a 5-year 200 000km warranty and 3-year roadside assistance.


Gugu Masuku - CHANGECARS